resistance bands vs free weights - which one is better?


Free weight training has been tried and tested by professional athletes to develop muscle mass and increase strength but can you get the same benefits with the help of resistance bands?

Many people have this common misconception that resistance bands are just for seniors or for women, that’s certainly not true. Resistance bands have their own sets of benefits and limitations, this article is going to uncover all the aspects of resistance bands vs free weights. 


resistance bands vs free weights

Are resistance bands as effective as free-weights?

Now to understand resistance bands vs free weights, we have made a list of pros and cons of the resistance bands.

If you are a pro-bodybuilder who is planning to get on stage then a resistance band workout might not be as effective as free weight training but resistance bands can be very effective if you are using them for the following purposes.

1# Maintain muscle size:

Resistance bands supplemented by bodyweight exercise can definitely help you maintain muscle size. That’s the reason many fitness enthusiasts love to carry a set of resistance bands while being on vacation. 

2# Muscle Pump & Toning:

Want to enjoy muscle pump and toning then resistance bands can be as effective as free weights while being low in cost and it occupies no space. 

Additionally, resistance bands are easy to carry which makes them a perfect workout partner for people who like to jog, trek, or swim.

3# Rehabilitation:

While free weights are not really recommended for rehabilitation purposes, resistance bands are proven to be a better alternative that works really well for the rehabilitation of muscle after an accident or injury. 

4# Maintain strength:

It’s a covid time and a large population is confined to train within the boundaries of their home. 

Resistance bands can surely assist in maintaining strength levels if optimum muscle stimulation is provided.

resistance bands vs free weights

Benefits of resistance bands over free weight

1# Easy to train with:

While free weights require a certain level of proper forms and techniques, resistance bands are comparatively easy to train with. 

You just need to have a knowledge of basic movement and you are good to go with these bands. 

2# Better control

As we all know, resistance increases as we stretch the band. Resistance bands feel fairly light at the beginning of movement but allow full contraction as we stretch them. 

Because of the variable resistance training with bands are found to have better control. 

3# Better range of motion:

Another benefit that goes unrecognised by many people. 

Many lifters tend to compromise with a full range of motion when they lift heavy-ass weights, this is when resistance bands come into play. 

Because of the modification in resistance levels, resistance bands encourage better form and prevents cheating while training. 

4# Prevents injuries

Every exercise has its sticking point that is where injuries happen. Training with resistance bands allows the lifter to gradually increase the resistance while keeping better control over the range of motion in comparison to free weights. 

5# Easy to carry

Last but not the least, bands are easy to carry in a backpack. No matter whether you are on vacation or lockdown or at the gym, these bands will always come in handy to enjoy the training. 

Drawbacks of resistance bands vs free weights

Tracking progress is hard

Tracking progress with resistance bands is a little hard since the resistance changes all the time. 

400 pounds at bench press is always going to stay 400 pounds, but the resistance of bands constantly modifies with the change in movement. 


Free weights allow us to measure the true strength levels. You can not evaluate my deadlift strength until you lift some dead weight off the ground, right? 


Resistance bands work really well with the muscle isolation but if you are looking to train the stabiliser muscle as well then nothing beats free weights. 

Ex: Squatting 300 pounds with a barbell not only forces legs to do the hard work but also strengthens the erector spinae, core, and abdomen.


resistance bands vs free weights

Can resistance bands replace weights?

Frankly speaking, they can't!

Resistance bands are proven beneficial in many scenarios but they have their own limitations as we already discussed. 

I suggest my clients a combination of resistance bands with free weights.

Resistance bands are good for warm up, mind-muscle connection, and muscle activation. Free weights should be used for serious strength building and pushing through the limits. 

Now we are sure you know that in the debate of resistance bands vs free weights, both have different uses and are can't replace each other.

Here at Swimcore we have different type of resistance bands, bands with handles and without handles, different bands for different usage, but we most recommend resistance tubing with handles, you can find them here

Alternatively you can watch the video tutorial below. 

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